tv American Politics CSPAN December 26, 2010 6:30pm-8:00pm EST
senator feingold has accomplished important and even historic things during his tenure as a united states senator. in my book the highest accolade is that russ feingold is a good and decent person with a passion for fairness, social justice and honest an open government. for me it has been an honor to be his friend and colleague for 18 years. our friendship will continue as will russ feingold's fight for progressive causes that he believes very strongly in. our departed friend paul wellstone use to say -- quot-- "the future belongs to those with passion." well, by that definition, russ feingold has a wonderful future ahead of him. i join with the entire senate family in wishing him the very best in the years ahead.
mr. president, in these closing days of the 111th congress, the senate will say farewell to one of the most seasoned and accomplished members on both sides of the aisle, senator robert bennett of utah. certainly no one in this body doubts senator bennett's staunch conservative values and principles, especially on fiscal and regulatory issues. he has been a consensus builder, willing to reach across the aisle in order to getmportant things done for the people of utah and the entire united states. clearly this thoughtfulness has caused him to lose favor with the more extreme wing of his party for which he paid a price during the primary election this year. i know i'm not alone in mourning the loss of one of the senate's most thoughtful and hard-working conservatives. for example, he part nerd with
partnered for universal -- as a senior member of the senate banking committee, he supported the emergency economic stablization act. senator bennett was widely criticized by those on the right, but he can take great pride in it because facts are facts. the troubled assets relief program prevented a total meltdown of our financial system. and almost the entir entire700 billion taxpayer investment has been or soon will be paid back to the treasury. this week the treasury booked a $12 billion profit on its previous $45 billion tarp investment in citigroup. mr. president, i've been proud to call bob bennett my friend for the last 18 years. i count myself fortunate to have served with him on many, many issues in the appropriations committee. is a gentleman, a bridge builder, a person of rock-solid
character and integrity. i join with the entire senate family in wishing bob and joy the very best in the years ahead. mr. president, in these closing days of the 111th congress, the senate will be saying farewell to one of our most popular members, senator blanche lincoln of arkansas. at a time when the senate has become increasingly partisan, senator lincoln charted an alternative choice. she had cultivated friendships on both sides of the aisle. she -- last year senator lincoln succeeded me as the chair of the senate agriculture committee. i would note that she is the first arkansan and the first woman to chair the senate agriculture committee. she has used that position to champion causes that have been her passion for many years including revitalizing rural
communities, supporting family farmers, promong biofuels and advocating for better nutrition for our school-aged children. senator lincoln is leaving the senate at the very top of her game. this week president obama signed into law the claims resolution act of 2010, a culmination of senator lincoln's efforts to provide justice for african-american farmers who suffered decades of discrimination in agriculture programs. also this week, president obama signed into law the healthy hunger-free kids act, which will become a major part of senator lincoln's leg says a united states senator. when i handed over the gavel to senator lincoln last year, much work had been done on the child nutrition bill but much remained be done. senator lincoln did a fantastic job, a masterful job of taking over the child nutrition reauthorization and sheparding
it to a -- shepherding it to a unanimous approval in the unite states senate. thanks to her leadership, low-income children have increased access to federal nutrition programs, the nutrition quality of the programs will improve and the school lunch program will be greatly reinforced. senator lincoln also exhibited extraordinary leadership earlier this year in the wall street reform bill, again as th chair of the sate ag committee, she was able to forge bipartisan consensus for strong reform of the derivatives market. inde, the provisions she championed will help to restore integrity to the drive riffs markets. it will allow companies to safely use derivatives to manage their business risk and will help to prevent future financial crisis. i was proud to support her in those efforts. mr. president, for the last 12 years in this body, senator lincoln has been a tireless advocate for the people of her state of aansas, for american
agriculture, for rural americans, and for families with small kids. she's been an outstanding senator and a wonderful friend. i join with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in wishing blanche and steve and their twin boys the very best in thee ahead. mr. president, i y y y y y y y y >> in wisconsin, plastics manufacturer ron johnson, a republican, lost the bid to serve a fourth senate term. in utah, former u.s. attorney mike leavitt defeated senator robert bennett in the gop primary, going on to win the general election in november. also, from arkansas, republican john bozeman. after five terms in the house, the cattle rancher beat blanche lincoln.
now the launch of a new organization that describes itself as a movement to unite americans of all political affiliations. called "no labels" organizers say that it will expand to several congressional districts in the coming year. with founding members of the group, several elected officials, and david brooks, this is just under an hour and 25 minutes. >> please welcome nancy jacobson, bill galston, john aslon, and mark mckinnon. [applause] >> it is important, before we
began, that a conversation that started a year ago with a handful of people have led to the insured. republicans, democrats, and independence, by word of mouth on lay, brought together and united -- by word-of-mouth only, brought together and united. never give up your label, but put it aside so we can do what government should do and solve problems and find common sense solutions. today, we met the first test. they said it could not be done. they said we did not have a passion. they said you could not bring it together. but today, it is just not true. in my 35 years in politics, i have not seen more interest in a project i have ever worked for. [applause] this is your movement to build and to grow and we are here to
help you in every which way. we have the power to build this voice and change behavior in washington. i look for -- i look forward to working with all of you. -- i look forward to working with all of you. >> nobody sent you here. you sent your cells. nobody paid for you to come. you're here on your own dime and many of you have.
a blizzard to get here. congratulations for that. throughout our history, this is the way at the country has changed. this is the with the future has been built. in the past century, both political parties were transformed from the bottom up over and over again, starting with progressives. in our lifetime, the country has been transformed by social movements almost too numerous to count, starting with the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the anti-war movement, the pro-choice and pro-life movement, the religious right -- the list goes on and on and on. now it is time to do it again and why? we have been brought together by a shared concern, a politics
that has ceased to work for america. we're sick of that politics. we are sick of the politics that myers the system and puts their leaders into unless debate. we want them to come together and solve problems. [applause] you may be saying, "how can you do it? how can we do it?" this is a pretty big room, but it is a much larger country.
in a year, this group will be multiplied tenfold, 100 fold, a thousandfold. with your leadership, this entire country will be organized and elected leaders who do the right thing will get your congratulations, your encouragement, your support. and those who do not will get called out. let me leave you with the thought that has become an unofficial motto for this movement, the words of margaret mead. "never imagined, never a doubt, that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. indeed, that is the only thing that ever has." thank you very much. [applause] >> and we're here today because we believe that hyper partisanship is hurting our country. it is getting in the way of solving the problems we face. the professional polarizers are promoting division. it is our essential tradition.
we are trying to reaffirm that basic message, out of many one. we can only do it by standing up and being the change that we want to see and by showing a bit today, you have shown that there is conviction, that this is a place of principal and passion. we understand that the politics of problem solving is what has moved our nation for historically, that the extreme bargaining has led to gridlock. but there is a drum beat out there. this is a rebellious project that we are all engaging in today. it is so countercyclical to the attitudes that dominate politics. the impulse is to drive people out of parties, ideological
purges and party purges, and they often masquerade as courage, that somehow walking lockstep in a party today is courageous. the last time i checked, that was conformity. that is the opposite of courage. that is cowardice. we have to stand up and practice our civic backbone. we know we can do it because we have the numbers. that is the big secret in american politics. our politics have been hijacked by comparatively small number of folks on the extremes of either side. we can do it by uniting together to add support to those political leaders who have the courage to reach across the aisle. we will play offense pin we will look at creating a political action committee to play in this post-partisan committees. because many of us are from a different generation, not invested in a generational grudge match, we will start
advocating for responsibility in our politics again that will be a big change, thinking beyond our labels. [applause] >> there is a flag that has been flown at a lot of rallies this year. it is a great flag from the revolutionary era. but in our current political movement, what we are talking about today, i will like to recommend a different flag. thatmin franklin's flag shows a state cut into 13 parts with one urgent reminder -- join or die. those are the stakes that we need to fight for. that is the flag we need to rally enter. if we do that, we can move the nation, not left or right, but
forward. [applause] >> welcome to our little woodstock of democracy here. [laughter] this is so exciting. we get asked about this effort and people say that there has always been partisanship. there has always been this poisonous environment enter politics. but the reality is that it is worse than it has ever been before. it is worse at a time when we face in arguably the greatest challenges we have ever faced. when we come visit with you, is completely different. we heard people say yet these meeting, emotionally and enthusiastically, that you do not feel like you have a voice anymore in washington. you feel like there are partisan voices on both sides of the aisle.
the system, the way it is set up, it punishes people for good behavior. and it rewards bad behavior. we know that, while there were partisan party before, we got a lot done by not questioning each other's motives. we did not call the the people the enemy. we did not call the racists and socialists. we did not call them names. when you have a system like today in washington where literally by members of the opposite party never even talk to each other -- they do not have lunch together. they go to washington and do their business and go home. the ability to get together and forge consensus -- consensus is when we come together, recognize we have differences, build on those differences, and create a pathway for work. these are all volunteers here. the reason that we have done this is because we care passionately about the problems that we see.
but we know it will take you to fix it. we cannot do it. politics is a market. you are the market. you can move markets. and i think you will move markets with this effort. politicians and elected officials respond to numbers. the fact is that you have not had a vehicle to express yourself. others have. they have very loud microphones that suggest to the elite and media that they represent the whole country. they do not. you represent the majority of america. all we're hoping to do is be a catalyst for you to create a vehicle where we can amplify your voices so that we begin to reward good behavior out there. thank you for coming. [applause] it is the general reflects to be cynical but what we are doing here.
they make their profit and their attention through conflict. the only thing that changes that is if we really show them and numbers. we need you to go out and organizing your community's and raise a voice out there. we need you to go out there and raise a ruckus for democracy. we are counting on you. [applause] we want to apologize in advance. i want to thank all our efforts on an extraordinary job. [applause] this is grass roots, baby. i want to show you a little film to get things started. the program may changes little from what you saw. democracy is messy, but it is what we got.
here is the film. ♪ >> right now, there is no incentive in our political system for people in either party to work together. we're beginning to think that people more liberal or conservative or on the other side of the aisle. >> they're not putting america first. >> that starts to fray at the threads of our country. there are organized groups on the left. >> they're not putting solutions first. >> and there are organized groups hundred. >> they are being controlled by their parties. >> both the democrats and republicans are working against each other. >> we have a situation in our politics where we are confusing to permit the with courage. -- confusing conformity with courage. we know it takes courage to think independently.
♪ ♪ we may not understand the whole process and how things go ♪ and just an ordinary man trying to live free and god knows ♪ be a man with a blue tie ♪ be a man with a red tide ♪ how do we tie things together and get it done for america? ♪ i am only one man with a voice inhat is something we have common >> as an american, i know is that we can fix it. >> rebound. >> you need a social movement that expresses those voices at the grassroots of two political parties that actually have a lot in common, but whose parties to not commit that common ground to be expressed very often. >> they should be thinking of our country first. >> we will leave our children and our grandchildren a
stronger and more prosperous country. we need to build a politics that is bigger than this polarization. ♪ there is a fight in the race ♪ who is going to win? ♪ i wish they did not have those labels ♪ there would be more change with new labels ♪ my kids will grow up ♪ your kids will grow up, to ♪ would do not like them to be raised up next to hospitals and good schools? ♪ all this time, you could have made a difference ♪ but you decided to go with the party >> i think we will realize that people who are in the center of the republican party and people in the center of the democratic
party actually agree with each other more. >> we need to provide a new space where people felt comfortable to actually get the work done. >> i want our leaders to know that, when extended to do the right thing, there are millions of americans who will stand up and say "keep going, we are here, do not be afraid, you're not alone, we are coming with you." ♪ all you need with you is some honesty ♪ i am only a man with one voice ♪ that is something we have in common ♪ he is a democrat ♪ he is a republican ♪ there are too many people suffering no wish they did not have labels ♪ there will be more change with no labels ♪
>> please welcome award winning author, commentator, and "new york times" columnist david brooks. [applause] >> thank you. i cannot believe they chose that song over mine. [laughter] i will start by talking about america. go out to suburban st., 3:00 p.m., watch 8-year-old commander second grade, they have 80-pound backpacks, the wind blows them down like beetles, and they're stuck on the ground. they get picked up by their over moms -- their uber moms. the moment of conception, doing but exercises, staying thin, driving up in their audi, volvo
-- it is socially acceptable to have a luxury car so long as it comes from a country that is hostile to u.s. policy. they take them over to wholefoods and get a snack at one of the socially-enlightened grocery stores [laughter] . [laughter] my favorite section is the snack food section. they have these seaweed-based snacks. it is for kids to come home and said they want a snack that will help prevent colon and rectal cancer. [laughter] go to a home depot and watch a man by it a bbq because that is when he is most emotional exposed. he takes it out to his uconn xl, one of these big box malls -- his yukon xl, one of these big box malls, costco where you
can get 200 pound boxes of detergent. who comes here shopping for condoms? the quantities are so big? [laughter] and i started off by describing america to make one elemental point. american society is in good shape. we have the hardest workers, the most productive workers. we have more patents in this country every year than the whole world combined. the country is in good shape producing fantastic things. today is taylor swift's 21st anniversary. we created taylor swift. [laughter]
it is the government that screwed up. we're not a decadent country with a bad culture print but we have a government that basically does not function. what will curtail that that we are careening toward national bankruptcy. there's no democrat that neither -- there is no trust between the parties. there is no intellectual flexibility to make a deal. there is no ability to work out complicated legislation. and there is no moral authority in washington right now. the second we fell that, we fail our human capital. we have not kept up with educational standards. we need to ship for -- shift from production to consumption. we need to reform entitlements, the tax code, and many other things. all of these things have not happen because the people not wanted, but because government
has not responded. why is government the way it is? some people think it is structural. we need to do a little redistricting, campaign finance -- that is not the main problems. they make the -- some say it is our politicians who are rotten. i interviewed three politicians every day. i can tell you that they are pretty good people every day. they are emotional freaks of one sort or another, but that is a separate thing. [laughter] we have good people stuck in a bad system. the main problem is that we have good people stuck in bad social relationships. it is a system that incurred as bad character, bad social norms, and bad ideas -- that encourage bad character, bad social norms, and bad ideas. many people do not get their ethnic identity from their political identity.
we have people suffering from laziness that comes from living in an information cocoon where all the facts are sorted for you before you even have to think about it. party leaders demand total party discipline and get everybody to say the same thing and stand in the same lines. we have the intellectual and securities, people who do not know members in the other said, will not have lunch with people, will move across the room to the other side of the senate to make some contact. we have people in the son system -- we have people in the system that encouraged triviality to win the message of the day and you get distracted from larger concerns. we have reached a point where all human contact in washington is distorted by a terrible system that makes people, even the people who are in the
middle of it, makes them miserable. so what we need? to my mind, we probably do not need a third party. this is not about a third party. we need a social movement under the parties. we need a new code of behavior, one that create some fosters competition. the founders were more vicious than we are. they were plenty partisan, in which they could reach deals and create the institutions in this country despite the partisanship. and so, we need -- [applause] we need to celebrate people who behave in the right way. we need an intellectual agenda that is not representative. if you go to a conservative dinner, there are a lot of think tankers and scholars. you go to a liberal dinner,
there is a lot of think tankers and scholars. you go to a centrist, moderate, it is a bunch of lobbyists. this is tragic because we have a tradition in this country which is a moderate-centrist tradition that started with alexander hamilton and went out with abraham lincoln to give poor boys and girls the chance to succeed. it created the railroad act, the homestead legislation. earl warren and pat brown treated biggest school system in california. they created water projects. they created a great infrastructure. and that is a vibrant, american tradition. we need an intellectual revival as well. [applause] the first thing we need our institutions. -- the third thing we need. presidents need outside institutions.
there are institutions towhen they do something unorthodox, there is nobody at their back. and we need institutions that will bring people together and support politicians, who will rise up when they do the right thing. [applause] finally, we need a social movement. and bill talked about this. we had moved on, the obama movement, the tea party movement -- this is a country that fears national decline. we need a thousand people to change the norms. change what is acceptable behavior. we needed thousand people to change the norms. this needs to be based on a revised system. the structures and the mentalities that make washington the way it is our strong and deep and entrenched. it is only love of country that is strong enough to overcome these obstacles. [applause]
we need to ask people and forced people to confront the few questions. when you take the other half of it? do you love your tax deduction more than you love america's future greatness? are you really unwilling to sacrifice your social security cost-of-living adjustment when soldiers and marines are in afghanistan sacrificing their lives? [applause] [applause] those are the sort of questions we need to ask to change minds and behavior. when winston churchill was about 21, his mother invited to his house for lunch a french diplomat who served as ambassador to england for 20 years. so he asked the guy, you have been here 20 years, what have you seen? and he said, have seen a revolution. when i got here 20 years ago, this was probably about 1821 1920, he said, when i got here, 400 families controlled everything. it was an agricultural economy.
in the last 20 years, that has changed completely. you have had the french revolution without spilling a drop of blood. and what he was describing was a gigantic social change that happened gradually, step by step, with both parties contributing step-by-step day- by-day. they had partisanship and politics, but they had constructive politics, where each side contributed to a larger project of reviving the country. in victorian england. because each side contributed to it, it took to advantage of both sides wisdom. because each side contributed to it, there was a deep social change that was widely expected. -- accepted. that is the sort of revival we need now. we need constructive challenge in politics. we need one that brings up the best and with the country has always been and that what we have had in the last couple of decades, a system that brings up the worst. thank you very much.
for a long time, have said and have written that the climate in washington is being shaped by an artificial presentation of opinions on cable television. there is no room for new philosophical issues. either you operate consistent and artificial or you don't get a say. this is awarded with ratings. ratings are rewarded by passion and not universal appeal. it comes at a time when polling and voter registration information suggests that political power could lie in the middle, in the hands of those for whom no label seems to apply. i often say that the only people that i meet who view the world
entirely through liberal or conservative lenses are the host or the pundits with whom i rub shoulders when i do the different programs. when i am buying gas, when i am buying groceries, when i am at a back-to-school line for our four children, i speak to people who defied labeling. the politicians, unfortunately, do not take their cues from them. the elected officials seem to emulate the world of punditry. no wonder then, when elected, colleagues the way they would a how pundit on a split screen. today, it is political kryptonite. it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and it is robbing us of the substantive dialogue that the country so desperately needs to solve big problems. that needs to change. [applause]
one of your founders, nancy jacobson, i thought, said it very well. no labels is an attitude, not an ideology. that sums up why i am here. i thank you for the invitation. because we have some initial interest figures, someone needs to be tasked with keeping time. that responsibility also falls to me. the only label that fits our next speaker is a public servant. dan glickman spent 18 years as a member of the united states house. he was also a secretary of agriculture under president clinton. secretary glickman. [applause] >> thank you, michael. thank you to nancy jacobsen and her team. thank you to david brooks for what could be the next preamble to america, which was just spectacular.
he deserves a hand for that. [applause] briefly about myself, i was a democratic congressman from kansas. that is an oxymoron. kansas is the longest-running state that has not elected a democratic senator in the country and it is probably the most republicans did in the country. then i went on to the secretary of agriculture. as some of you know, the agriculture department represents, in many cases, some of the most conservative political constituencies in america. but you learn that you have to be -- that you have to have a dialogue with different perspectives. then i went on to be the chairman of the motion picture association of america. i guess my agricultural department gave me the qualification to do that. i used to say that the biggest part of the word "agriculture" was "culture." it involves human attitudes and emotions and you have to work with both sides of the aisle.
now i am at the bipartisan policy center started by senators daschle, dole, and baker. and mitchell. i always did my best to try to be in the center as much as i possibly could. those incentives are out of the system today. being a moderate was eight critical thing for me. i always did my best to try to be in the center as much as i possibly could. i do not want to quit the belief that nostalgia is what made america so great in the past. there were things in the past that were not so good.
but the fact of the matter is that there was a greater incentive to work together in years past, certainly during the 18 years i was in the house. there seems to be right now, tax reform, energy bill legislation, education and education, things that impacted america. it is not the same as it was before and the country is being hurt by that process. it is being weakened by that process. groups like this that can provide grass-roots efforts to help politicians is critical. daniel burnham was a famous chicago architect. he built a lot of the chicago buildings. he built union station in washington and other places. he made a very important statement. "makes no little plans for they do not have the power to stir men's souls." america is a big plan. our political system has become a lot less resistant to keep america bay, making big plans. the futures of people in this room and throughout the country are being threatened by a political system that just does not seem to work as well as it used to.
i am not arguing for fundamental radical change. i am arguing for the need of a grass-roots movement to help political leaders reach across the aisle to seek common ground, to try to find solutions so that america can be at the place that the founding fathers intended it to be, to be great, to provide leadership at home and around the world that i think we were set up to be. this current system rewards the status quo because the conflict we have today becomes personal and results do not tend to follow through. i'm just honored to be there as an old politician who served a long time ago. but remember the system that was more resilient and a stronger america because of that. with no label's help and places where i work now, we can try to change the focus of america to a political system that really does serve the people.
thank you all very much. i appreciate it. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you very much, mr. secretary. during this portion of the program, we will hear from citizen leaders as well as voices from social media. the first of the citizen leaders is from the great state of connecticut, darnell goldson. darnell? >> good morning everyone. [applause] good morning, everyone. >> good morning. >> thank you. my name is darnell goldson. i am a city councilman in new haven, conn., a democrat, an accident of birth. my crime was that i endorsed a democrat for governor and a republican for senate. i had my house egged a few weeks ago.
as soon as i endorsed the republican, they started calling for my ouster from the party, for my removal from the city council, and, of course, they egged my home. and, you know, it is part of the political system that you cannot have a different opinion. you cannot march outside of your party. no labels, for me, is a way of being able to express what you feel and what is good for my city and what is good for my country. i love the fact that this movement has started. i hope that it moves forward and i hope we go back and organize their areas. i certainly will. thank you for having me. [applause] >> thank you, darnell. hello, kiki. she has a view from the social media world. >> we got comments from friends around the country who could not get here.
and this is from ernie, from rancho cordova, california. one says, "i have seven children and 10 grandchildren and i want the beauty that is the united states of america to always be there for posterity. we can do better if we look to the vision of our forefathers with the constitution as our guide. i want my country back. and i will go to any lengths to ensure that the future is bright. i pray that you, as their leaders, will do the same." [applause] >> thank you, kiki. please join me in welcoming a man who is the epitome of rational thinking in the united states house of representatives, from the great state of south carolina, congressman bob english. [applause] >> i have to live up to that epitome thing. i was in front of a fairly liberal audience this week and observe one of the most
irrational responses ever. wesleyan university. the speaker said that the president may not defend the power of the epa to regulate condoms. -- carbon. the crowd hissed. it was the most irrational response from a group of people who should know better. and for the republican audience, a guy stood up and said that the president was so unpatriotic because he did not hold this hand over his heart when the national anthem was played. or when the pledge is recited. i should have said to the guy," what to expect?" instead, i said to the guy, "it is just not true. i have been with the president. i have seen him put his hand over his heart. the president is a loyal,
patriotic american who loves his country, loves his wife, and loves his kids." i just disagree with him on everything. afterwards, a republican ought -- a republican came to me and said, "do not give him that." that is our challenge. you get an irrational response from the conservative argument and you get an irrational response from the liberal audience. democrats are into fairness and republicans are into merits. the country needs both. that is the truth. and america once both. -- wants both. the bonds that tie us as a nation are stronger than the ties the blind us to an ideology. people like me are conservative and we conservatives, by golly, know how to get things built. the conservatives know that
risk must be followed by reward. we're also here to say that liberals know that the great will squash the small unless there are fair rules of the road. a businessman in the gaza strip said that god give us to eyes. one to see the situation from the perspective of another. we are here to say that it is not left or right, just forward. when the internet and the pc created enormous wealth and productivity and too much -- and through all of that revenue to balance the budget in the late 1990's, we are here to say that it is not left or right, but forward to reinvent the car. we are here to sayit would not be left or right, but forward for us to win the triple play, national security, better jobs, and cleaner air.
you know, i have had the opportunity to be in iraq five times and in afghanistan four times to see the most amazing people in the world. not to the iraqis and afghans, you understand. they're fine. the americans serving there. you know, in those visits, i never ask a soldier or sailor or a marine if they are a republican or democrat. because in a war zone, you're just an american. it seems to me thatthe least we should be able to give to those willing to serve and die is people willing to die on figurative political polls by reaching on the other side and pulling the best out of both parties. let's do that with no labels. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much, congressman bob english.
now we turn to another of our citizens leaders, all the way from tucson, ariz., miss bonnie davis. >> thank you. good morning everyone. from tucson, arizona. i am here primarily because i have two beautiful granddaughters who also live in arizona. and i implore you to look to arizonan if you want to see what the plans are of the extremists in this country whose only goal is to divide us so that they can conquerors. our state is in a terrible state and the only thing in my view that will save us and actually save our country is something that is starting today. we need to speak with each other. we need to find the best in each other. we need to work together to find solutions. we have solutions to real
problem so that we can see beyond the trumped up kinds of issues that are so rampant, especially in my home state, my beautiful adopted state that i have lived in for 40 years. i'm so thrilled to be here and i am so happy that all of you have come. again, please, if you need a context for what we're trying to do here, look to arizona, understand what is going on here, and you will be plenty motivated, a few were not already, which i am sure you are. thank you for the opportunity to speak to all of you today. [applause] >> thank you, bonnie. again, we turn to the social media world. kiki. >> we have another one. i have to see the beautiful girls, who are sitting right here. this is from matthew in oberlin, ohio "our politicians take students for granted. democrats assume that we will support them no matter what.
and republicans think they will never make significant inroads, and they just do not try. we are a dynamic force in politics that is just as sick of the hyper-partisan rhetoric as any other group. we are looking for real leaders with the bravery to work with the other side to solve the huge problems we face. we are as open-minded as anyone and are waiting for politicians to show that they can lead." [applause] >> thank you, kiki. our next speaker hails from the hawkeye state, congressman bruce really who has been in the house of representatives. please welcome congressman bruce bareilly. [applause] >> i am delighted to be here. thank you. i am proud to be a democrat from waterloo, iowa. but i am also proud that i grew up in a no labels house in a small low levels town called brooklyn, iowa. -- in a small, no labels town
called brookland, iowa. my father was a republican. my mother was a democrat. somehow, they made that work. and people had a problem in the small town i grew up in, they did not ask you if you were a republican or democrat. they asked for your help and they got it. that is what public service is supposed to be about. i am proud to call bob english, who just walked off the stage, a conservative republican, a good friend of mine. i think it is a tragedy that we're losing bob from the house of representatives. [applause] i want to tell all of these young people sitting behind me that i do not take college students for granted because i have three children who are currently in college and, believe me, i listen to them every day. [applause] a the most important place i go every day is the house gym. why? because there are no labels in the house gym.
i get to meet people like bob english and i got to learn about them, what they did before they came to congress, what their family are doing, and i find it is much more difficult to demonize someone when you actually know them and have a personal relationship with them. one of the things that this movement should be about is bringing people together to solve problems and help people. that is why i ran for congress and i believe that is why most of my colleagues ran for congress. i am proud of the fact that the very first bill that i introduced in congress, the new era at, to create opportunities for young people and renewable energy through partnerships with community colleges, came about and was signed into law by a republican president because i had a great bill and i reached out across the aisle to congressman joe bonner, a
republican from alabama, who have the same problems in his district that i had in mind. we worked together and got that bill passed and into the farm bill and signed into law by president bush. i was proud of that fact. just recently, before the last election, i had a very important piece of legislation called the plain language act requiring every federal agency to communicate with constituents in language that they can understand, passed overwhelmingly in the house of representatives, and was held up by one republican senator, senator bennett from utah. i could have gotten frustrated and given up. he served in a different chamber and sometimes the distance between the house and senate seems like a distance between new york and los angeles. instead of getting frustrated, i scheduled an appointment with him and i met with him and his staff for nearly an hour. we worked out his problems and got that bill passed in the senate by unanimous consent, passed by the house with overwhelming bipartisan support, and signed into law by
president obama. i do not feel i gave up any of my values or the reasons why i ran for congress to make both of those bills happen. yet, it seems that, in this partisan environment that we all live in, working together to solve the problems is somehow become a liability for any elected official. the purpose of this conference is to start a spark a conversation. we have to work to spread that sparked around the country until we realize that we are most effective as a nation when we help people not by abandoning our principles, but by coming together and having a rational, adult conversation about how we solve complex problems. that is my challenge to all of you here. people who came together in goodwill from all of the country, from divergent political philosophies, very different regions with
different problems, but came here because they care about their country, they want to see us move forward and be able to hold our heads proud as a nation that respects different opinions and yet can come together in an intelligent way to solve tough problems. the challenge is not getting any easier. i can tell you that from firsthand experience. as someone who has two $0.5 million of secret outside money spent against me in the last campaign. we know that this is a tough challenge. but we also know that this country has never shied away from tough challenges. that is why your presence here today is a strong message that america can still do things the right way, bring people together, and saw all the challenges we face. thank you for having me here and i hope you have a great time at the conference. [applause]
>> thank you, congressman bareilly. thank you very much. now we will hear from another of our citizen leaders, having traveled here from south carolina, mr. ken suggests. -- suggs. >> there is a country song that says "i love the country, but i cannot stand the scene." that is sort of what this is about. we love our country, and we love our leaders, like bruce braley. reaching across in trying to make things work. -- and trying to make things work. ii am an attorney. let me bring something to your attention that is important in this partisan world, and that is the federal judiciary. i live in south carolina.
there would not have been a civil rights movement in south carolina without the federal judiciary taking or the schools. these were people living in the community and had tremendous courage. because of the tremendous bipartisanship we have now, our federal judiciary is being depleted. good people cannot get appointed because of the partisanship in this country. we have to overcome that. we have to overcome this "me versus you" mentality that has led us down this path to long. thank you. >> thank you. ken. kiki has more reaction from the social media world. >> we hear from sun prairie, wisconsin. she says, "i believe that we must ask our politicians to look forward degeneration, ask them -- look forward a generation, ask them "what have you done in your term in office to move america forward? have you made america a better place to live, safer, provided
opportunities, created a healthier in burma for all americans, young and old?" -- created a healthier america for all americans, young and old?" [applause] >> our next speaker is currently serving in his next term representing and advocate for so just about 4 million californians, the second most populated state in the united states. we are so honored to have the mayor on hand. we please welcome mayor antonio villaraigosa? [applause] >> first of all, let me say how excited and proud i am to see so many young people here. i had a chance to meet a lot of them last night. america will be on the right track, will go forward with young people getting involved with the way that you have.
there has been a lot of talk about the need for bipartisanship, the need to move away from the polarization, the vitriol, the screaming that you see on tv and in the halls of congress and state capitals around the nation. and there is no question that we need to do that. i remember when i was speaker of the california state assembly. the first thing i did as speaker, democrats used to sit on one side of the aisle and republicans on the other. i said, why do we not to them together? my caucus, my party, i colleagues were very upset. they said, we won the election. what we have to sit with them? -- why do we have to sit with them? the republicans said, of course, why do you want to sit with us? are you trying to get information about our strategy? and i said, no. i want us to sit together because i want us to work together. i want us to figure out this week and how we all face the many of the same challenges. -- this weekend. we have to take our kids to soccer game wore a baseball practice. we have challenges with their
constituents. and maybe once you start talking if and getting to know one another, maybe you will realize that you have something in common. when i left the speakership, i said to both parties in the assembly hall there, in the chamber, i said, "you know, i learned a lot in the six years that i have been in the legislature. i learned that there are democrats that i vote with everyday who would not invite to my home to dinner. and the republicans who i never vote who i would." we know that the problems the
people face every single day are not a democrat or republican. they are real problems. as mayor, i am very fortunate that i do not have to be in sacramento or washington, d.c. fixing it pot hole or making the city safe is not a democrat or republican. it is not partisan. it is something you have to get done. and our city, people expect you to roll up your sleeves and get things done. unfortunately, what we have in congress today and what we have in state capitals around the world is so much partisanship and not enough getting things done. and so, yes, i want to speak to the bipartisanship, but i also want to speak to the idea that part of why we want to move to bipartisanship and to talking to one another's because we want to give california and america back on track. we want to take on the challenges that we face in the united states of america today. but the other reason, i think, within the space of no labels that we ought to be able to talk
about is the idea to challenge our own orthodoxy. i am a democrat and a progressive democrat. i come out of the teachers' union and was an organizer with seiu for 25 years before i came out. i am absolutely committed to our teachers and the union. i am absolutely committed to collective bargaining. but when you see our public schools today, that the most powerful defenders of the status quo or the teachers union, when you see that, in our cities today, with city's crumbling -- cities crumbling under financial pressure and pensions and benefit structures that are unsustainable, democrats have to be able to challenge those orthodox jews, m-- those orthodoxies, just like the republicans have to be able to challenge their own orthodoxy -- those orthodoxies, just like the republicans have to be able to challenge their own orthodoxy. as much as mayor bloomberg has
had to do with the schools, i have tried to partner with those to turn around our schools, to set a high bar for a schools, to change the paradigm of a school system where 50% of our kids are dropping out, a% of our kids are scoring in the bottom 20%, and yet, when you challenge an orthodoxy, like seniority, that is something we should vote away, but that absolute seniority for transfers, for layoffs, for retirement cannot be the only thing that we look at when we evaluate a teacher. performance ought to be important, too. [applause] in my schools, i have taken on the toughest, lowest standard schools. in my school, when i am losing 55% of my teachers because the new teachers are the only ones
who go to these schools, we ought to be able to fix that problem. we ought to be able to not call each other names. your anti-union. you are pro union. but figure out how to fix that problem. when cities like mine have had to face a $1 billion deficit, $320 million this year, when i make a clarion call and start with myself and say, "from the last three years, i have taken a cut of 16%. what about the rest? what about the all share in the sacrifice right now? tighten our belts together, so we can provide police and fire services and keep our libraries open?" these are the types of challenges we face in our party, as democrats, and republicans facing challenges. they say on the one hand that they want to cut deficits and debts, and then push us hard to
kazakhstan income tax to the rich and powerful, -- to extend income tax to the rich and powerful. i think it is important for us to acknowledge and recognize that you cannot do both at the same time, that you cannot go into three wars, as we have, and tell our children to pay for them. but that is what we have done. so no matter what you think about that war or those wars -- [applause] in the history of our country, when we have gone to war, we have said to the american people that they have to sacrifice, so i would like to argue that, while yes, we do need to work together, we need to move away from the vitriol, we need to reach out democrats, republicans, independents, and take on the challenges, we have got to bring strength to our own constituencies. we have got to talk straight to
those you want to tie our hands when we want to address the difficult problems. these problems are of a great magnitude, make no mistake, but in the history of our great country, as you have heard a couple of times already, we have always been able to take those challenges on when we are working together, so i want to think the young people who are here today and for those getting behind this effort -- i want to thank the young people. this is happening in kitchens in state capitals -- in kitchens, in state capitals, in the congress. we have got to start having this conversation about what we are all prepared to do to roll up our sleeves, to get things done, to reach across the aisle, to move america forward. thank you all very much. [applause] >> thank you, mayor villiargoso.
and now, we have another number of our citizens leaders. from new york city, will you please welcome mr. brown =-- ms. brown. >> good morning. like so many of you, i am tired of bickering, sometime hostile, posturing rhetoric. rhetoric that prevents people from getting anything done. i grew up in washington, d.c., and being american and being a
citizen of the united states, and all of the rights and responsibilities and what would this. the customer first actually really meant something. it meant to the certain degree putting values of america afford to move us forward, and so, i one of those people who, -- i am one of those people. if this is what it means to truly be an american, what it means to truly move forward, then i am in. [applause] >> thank you, binta. kiki has more from the world of social media. kiki? >> one says, "the energy and money we have been spending has been damaging to us and has limited our ability to help on global issues.
let us find common ground. let us stop the stagnation politics and then build towards the betterment of our country and the world. " [applause] >> please welcome our next speaker. kirsten gillibrand. senator? [applause] >> well, as the senator from new york, i welcome you all here to our great city, agreed university here, and i welcome the students to be a part of our conversation. i cannot figure enough with the efforts you are undertaking with this conference. it could not come at a more important time in the history of our nation and an extraordinarily important time. not only do we have an unemployment rate near 10%, we have two wars and in national security crisis at every border.
this is a huge time of enormous discordance in washington, as well. we have seen time and time again that people on both sides are measuring success by the amount of bills they have lost as opposed to the amount of solutions they have found. we should count our success on how many jobs we are creating, and how many problems we are addressing, and it is really a time when we need leaders, leaders in the private sector just like yourselves to really have this call to action to demand bipartisanship, coming together, and working on solutions, and not the partisan bickering that is on talk shows and on the evening news, so i really appreciate your dedication to this, and there really is a vision for success here. there are opportunities in every way to have bipartisan efforts in the senate and in the congress and state governments all around the country, and with my very short years in
washington, it is possible, on an issue like you're more reform, where there are votes on both sides of the spectrum, -- on an issue like earmark reform, where there are votes on both sides of the spectrum, one thing we can agree on is transparency. we need transparency and accountability to make sure the americans have what they need to hold members of congress accountable, and that is why we are having a surgical database, and we are doing that with john mccain, but the lesson i want to leave you with is that your advocacy will really make a difference, because really being able to hold public servants accountable for their behavior, for their discord, for the work they're trying to do in washington to solve these problems, it cannot be more important like everyone.
we do focus on what this country needs, so i want to leave you with a great appreciation of what you are doing and a great word of hope that this is exactly the right direction for america. [applause] >> thank you, senator gillibrand. let's welcome another one of our leaders, coming from san francisco. martha? [applause] >> good morning. i am from california now. in fact, i am from marin county, and the politics there, if you are familiar with it, it is about as blue as it can be, and i have to say, it suited me. however, after this last election and the vitriol and the hyper partisanship, it really scared me, and i see no labels
as an opportunity to get beyond that and move on and get real and face are very serious economic and environmental and health-care challenges, to find solutions, and i think we are on the crest of a wave, and we like waves in california, to make a difference and support leaders who will collaborate, who will work together, and who will help sell these challenges. -- solve these challenges. [applause] >> thank you, smart the. -- martha. kiki has more from social media. >> this is from europe, pennsylvania. our problems are not insurmountable if we work to find common ground.
the posturing and stonewalling is never-ending. it cannot continue like this. >> thank you, kiki. ladies and gentlemen, our next speaker has been a longtime fixture in virginia, having represented the house of representatives, in he is part of a partnership which gives a voice to a problematic republicans -- and he is part of a partnership. would you please welcome congressman tom davis. >> i have been a committee chairman of the government reform committee. i am proud of our record.
we started to see labels and pledges getting in the way of getting things done. member is terrified to move because strong individual constituency groups out there might cost them an election. the parties are now source of ideologically. we are seeing that there is very little vetting over the internet. the money has moved away from the political parties. it did not disappear. it has just gone out. what you have seen now is more money spent by interest groups than the parties and candidates combined.
this has sent chills. what has been the result of this? for the last decade, you literally had 9/11 in two wars. we have had katrina and the economic meltdown, the longest sustained unemployment since world war two. real wages have not moved in 20 years. that is what this political system has delivered, and then you have to think, what does this mean for the future? 41 cents for every dollar we are spending, that is just not sustainable. it cannot last. when you have one sidelining of to say that you're not going to
raise revenue and another saying they are not going to cut expenses, it makes a difference -- difficult to get to the table, and it makes it difficult to solve problems. let's take a look at how that money is being spent. when you look at the federal budget today, you have medicare, medicaid, social security, federal pensions, debt service, which is artificially low. almost 15% of the spending is spent on retirees. that means we are not spending on infrastructure. we are not spending on research and development, the kinds of things that will get america strong for the future. not things that will make us competitive in the global economy. our global competitors are not doing the same thing. they are not making the tough decisions right now because people are labeled. there are ideological
persuasions. people who come to washington wanted to do the right thing do not feel they can do it, and that is where you come in connection there are people who look at these issues in care about results, as the center said. we care about results. we do not care about the rhetoric. i have been to all of that in my political career. smart, dedicated people. at this point, they are not being propped up by people like us. they are being propped up by people on the left. we need to give our political people the courage they need. i think this is the start of something big. when you look back in the future, you'll be proud to be here today to kick this off. thank you. >> thank you, congressman davis.
we hear now from one of our state leaders who has made here from minnesota, no small feat with the weather you up and falling on the news. it is all yours. >> thank you very much. i am here from minnesota with my wife and my daughters. we are from minnesota, where purple is not only the color of the county and the minnesota vikings, but purple informs our political conversation, not only the diversity of red and blue but the inclusiveness when read it mixes with blue, and so i am here to pass on with your mother a civic latticing -- a legacy. we want to give you a legacy of a much more porting direction forward together with no labels. these are the folks, my
daughters, who you'll be working with, and i want to thank you for what we will be doing in the future, as well. >> mr. garis, you are our first no labels family. and now, we hear from kiki. >> "i'm extremely frustrated. we have lost sight of the issues that matter. now, more than ever, solutions to move this country forward. " >> ladies and gentlemen, after the next brief part of the program, there will be a time for a leg stretch. i am proud to tell you that we
have 300 students that have been here to be a part of this movement. [no audio] [applause] you can argue the real progress starts with them. >> hi there. i look forward to the day where it is easy as these professionals have made it look. until then, i am a politico communications senior at a school, which is also known as the basketball team that beat kansas. i am serving as the president of iowa college republicans.
i am here today, amid finals and snowstorms, in an effort to avoid the hyper partisanship that has been bred by past generations and give my generation a chance to pursue american solutions ahead of partisan litmus tests. thank you. [applause] >> hi, my name is alexandra, and i am a sophomore at the university of new hampshire. i am president of the college democrats. [applause] hi, my name is nick morrie, and i am a junior at the university of nebraska. last year, i founded the first drug policy reform organization on campus for the reform of marijuana laws. like our founders, we understand that compromise is the fuel that drives the engine of american governance.
>> hi, my name is kerrie, and i am a member of an association and also part of an organization to get young women interested in politics, and i joined a new label so we can move forward instead of backward. -- i joined new labels. [applause] >> i am with the dartmouth review, a publication which is celebrating an anniversary of 30 years this year. i am glad to be here. >> hi, i am with a high state university, a freshman. it is good to be here. i was originally considering the traditional avenues of political involvement on campus, such as the college republicans, but i wanted to have a greater impact
and also enjoy the challenge of dealing with different ideas and working with different ideas. i committed myself to know labels for the next four years and beyond. -- to no labels. [applause] >> we began our pledge by acknowledging we are facing the worst job crisis since the great depression, and the hyper partisan gridlock in washington threatens to leave us a less prosperous and weaker america. [applause] >> i am here because i want to make my party stronger to address the tough challenges our nation faces. a win for one party is not necessarily a loss for the other party. as history as it -- has shown, things can come together in our common interests.
>> today, we are here to take an oath. i pledge to spar -- to speak out against the problems that are critical for our nation's future. >> i pledge to work with people whose principles are different than my own, and i will treat my peers with respect. i will also think about advancing my own ideas. >> i pledge not to denigrate or dispirito another person because of his or her political beliefs, because i believe that human beings are bigger than their political labels. >> i pledge to demand solutions from my elected officials. i will write to my senators. i will do this until they
listen. >> leslie, i pledge to do what is best for america. at this point, i ask you to stand and do the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. thank you. [applause] >> may we have a round of applause for all of the young leaders on the stage? thank you very much. [applause] it is 10:25. we will reconvene. thank you.